10 Everyday Technologies You Don't Realize You Use


Unless you're from a very remote part of the world, you're probably not surprised that magnets are helping your gym schedule stay attached to the refrigerator. But you're also using electromagnetic fields -- those magnetic fields caused by electric charges -- in all sorts of ways you probably didn't expect.

One would be that touchscreen phone you like so much. Notice that you don't have to press hard to type the letters of your text message in? That's because it has a capacitive touchscreen. While a resistance touchscreen means you press two charged layers together to let the computer know where your finger is, a capacitive screen stores an electrical charge in it and uses you -- yes, your very self --to transfer some of the charge. When that particular spot has a decrease in charge (from your greedy electromagnetic field, sucking it all up), your phone's computer recognizes it. And that's where it knows your finger is. It doesn't require the press of the resistance because your electromagnetic field can transfer with the lightest touch of your finger -- or any other conductor, for that matter.

Thank goodness your touch proves you're human, because in the next section we'll see all the ways robots are hoping to take your place in the world.